8 December 2015

Mozambique: Act Alliance Alert - Drought Response in Southern Mozambique

1. Brief description of the emergency and impact

Gaza and Inhambane province in southern Mozambique are regularly prone to drought. Most of the rural population of the region rely on rain-fed agriculture. They have experienced a poor harvest in 2015 as a consequence of the uneven rains of 2014-15 and expect a delay of the 2015-16 season. Vulnerability studies indicate that about 138,000 (72,000 in Gaza and 66,000 in Inhambane) people are currently facing acute food shortages and the number of affected is expected to rise, increasing the need for humanitarian response. This has also led to school dropout among children and there have been 894 cases of Cholera reported in North Mozambique between October-November 2015.

2. Why is an ACT response needed?

An ACT Alliance response is needed because of the effects the drought is having on the remote communities in Gaza and Inhambane. The communities lack adequate clean water for domestic use, livelihood sources of the communities such as fishing and farming have diminished due to dry spells as a result of below average rainfalls.

3. National and international response

The Mozambican Government has conducted initiated assessment studies, constructed 1 borehole and a water reservoir in affected districts, and is distributing water in limited areas. World Food Programme is providing food assistance through a food distribution project implemented by LWF, and is reaching 26,000 beneficiaries in 5 districts of the Gaza province. Other International NGOs such as Save the Children and Oxfam are planning to initiate response measures in the four provinces, however they have not yet commenced.

4. ACT Alliance response

LWF is currently the only WFP partner for food distribution. Comité Ecuménico para o Desenvolvimento Social (CEDES) in coordination with the Institute Nacional de Gestao de Calamidades - National Institute for Natural Disaster Management (INGC) is encouraging communities in Chigubo, Massangena, Massingir, Chicualacuala and Mabalane to focus their production along river banks. Christian Council of Mozambique (CCM) is implementing a development program in the Chibutu and Chigubo districts in Gaza and in the Mabote, Funhalouro and Govuro districs in Inhambane, and are ready to join the response.

5. Planned activities

ACT Alliance members in Mozambique are planning to coordinate their activities with national government/local authorities as well as other stakeholders.

Areas that will be included in an ACT appeal would include:

- Needs assessment of the affected communities

- Provision and improvement of water sources to improve access to safe drinking water and water for agriculture (sack gardening, drip, greenhouse);

- Training of water user committees

- Community sensitization on improved sanitation and hygiene promotion to reduce incidence of water-borne diseases like cholera;

- Support communities to develop Community Managed Disaster Risk Reduction (CMDRR) initiatives

- Provision of food assistance to well targeted vulnerable families that are not reached by INGC and WFP

- Provision of certified seeds, tools and training on agronomical/agricultural practises (conservation agriculture, improved animal husbandry, drought tolerant crops, irrigation)

- Advocacy to highlight the situation in the communities to the appropriate authorities and UN agencies in Maputo.

6. Constraints

ACT Alliance members in Gaza have been mainly focused on development assistance, and therefore scaling up a team will require additional resources. Mozambique has during the last years experienced a localised political conflict in Sofala province, 1000 km north from the affected areas, hence a security challenge.

Any views expressed in this article are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters Foundation.

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